Rockabilly has left a legacy, spawning a variety of sub-styles and influencing other genres such as punk rock.
Recordings of Wills's from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s include "two beat jazz" rhythms, "jazz choruses", and guitar work that preceded early rockabilly recordings. Wills is quoted as saying "Rock and Roll?Why, man, that's the same kind of music we've been playin' since 1928! But it's just basic rhythm and has gone by a lot of different names in my time.The Maddox Brothers and Rose were at "the leading edge of rockabilly with the slapped bass that Fred Maddox had developed".Maddox said, "You've got to have somethin' they can tap their foot, or dance to, or to make 'em feel it." After World War II the band shifted into higher gear leaning more toward a whimsical honky-tonk feel, with a heavy, manic bottom end - the slap bass of Fred Maddox.Soon these new sounds began to make their way out onto the stage of the Jamboree where they found a very receptive audience.
Younger musicians around Memphis, were beginning to play a mix of musical styles.
Some have also described it as a blend of the bluegrass style with rock and roll.
The term "rockabilly" itself is a portmanteau of "rock" (from "rock 'n' roll") and "hillbilly", the latter a reference to the country music (often called "hillbilly music" in the 1940s and 1950s) that contributed strongly to the style's development.
Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing and boogie woogie.
Defining features of the rockabilly sound included strong rhythms, vocal twangs and common use of the tape echo,but the progressive addition of different instruments and vocal harmonies led to its "dilution".
Bluegrass was a staple of country music in the early 1950s, and is often mentioned as an influence in the development of rockabilly.